Former federal prosecutor to testify Justice Department politicized Stone case
Critics of Stone's 40-month sentence say it's too lenient, President Trump says it's 'very unfair'
June 24, 2020 - 10:39am
A former prosecutor in the federal case against Roger Stone is set Wednesday to tell Congress that the former Trump adviser was treated differently by the Justice Department because of his relationship with the president.
Stone was convicted on charges of lying to Congress, thus obstructing the legislative body's investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 election. Initially, federal prosecutors recommended a sentence of between seven and nine years, for Stone. Instead, he was sentenced to 40 months in prison.
The former prosecutor, Aaron Zelinksy, will testify before the House Judiciary Committee. Zelinsky prosecuted Stone as a part of special counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating possible collusion between Russia and the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.
Stone was convicted last year of seven counts of obstructing and lying to Congress and of witness tampering in connection to his contacts with the Trump campaign regarding WikiLeaks.
He plans to tell the committee that the case was politicized at the "highest levels" of the Justice Department, including the acting U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia being asked to lessen Stone's sentence.
President Trump has said Stone's sentencing length is "very unfair."
The committee, led by New York Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler, is investigating the possible politicization of the department under the leadership of Attorney General William Barr.
Nadler signaled earlier this week that there are plans to subpoena Barr to force a testimony from him. Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the committee' top Republican, called Nadler's actions unnecessary.
A department spokesperson says Barr thinks Stone's sentence was "excessive," and that the attorney general did not speak to president about his decision.
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